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Kenyan bank sees Chinese trade to boost profit, ties

Date : 2015-07-31  | From : Xinhua
State-owned National Bank of Kenya (NBK) plans to use its Chinese business segment to growing investment and opportunities to help boost trade between Kenya and China.

NBK Managing Director Munir Ahmed told journalists in Nairobi that the Chinese business segment will be one of its key revenues streams going forward.

He said the growing Sino-Kenya trade has increased demand for Chinese bank notes in Kenya, hence the hosting of the clearing centre in Nairobi to settle trade deals.

"We are currently the only bank in Kenya that has a fully fledged unit that converts the Kenyan shilling into the Chinese Renminbi," Ahmed said during the release of the bank's financial results.

The NBK last week opened a new branch that will host a clearing house for Chinese Renminbi that would allow the settlement of trade deals to help boost economic growth.

The bank's Premium Branch will benefit traders as it would cut the costs they incur when converting from the Kenyan shilling to the Yuan.

Ahmed said the Kenyan bank has partnered with two Chinese banks to facilitate direct exchange of Kenya shillings into Yuan.

"The partnership will also facilitate the easy repatriation of funds by the Kenyan Diaspora back into Kenya," he added.

Ahmed noted that the bank plans to facilitate business between Kenya's small and medium enterprises who want to trade with their Chinese counterparts.

He said the Kenyan government is currently in talks with its Chinese counterpart to establish a full clearing house for the Chinese yuan.

China is currently one of the largest trading partners of Kenya as well as largest financier of infrastructure projects in the East African nation.

Kenyan banks have introduced a Chinese department to tap additional revenue from traders doing business with the world's second largest economy.

NBK and Barclays Bank Kenya have also tried to lure the Chinese, with Cooperative Bank of Kenya, for example, hiring Chinese-speaking liaison managers to help them break the language barriers.

Chinese nationals have been trooping to Kenya to do business and work on construction projects funded by the Chinese government, while Kenyan traders have been making trips to the Far East country to purchase Chinese merchandise.